Pavel Stroilov, writing on the Spectator blog:
“Russian democracy has been buried under the ruins of New York’s twin towers”, famous KGB rebel Alexander Litvinenko wrote in 2002. The West, he warned, was making a grave mistake of going along with Putin’s dictatorship in exchange for his cooperation in the global war on terror. He would never be an honest partner, and would try to make the Western leaders complicit in his own crimes – from political assassinations to the genocide of Chechens. As a KGB officer, Putin would see every friendly summit-meeting as a potential opportunity to recruit another agent of influence.
David Cameron, whose summit-meeting with Putin coincided with the sombre jubilee of 9/11, would be well-advised to remember these warnings. The previous generation of Western leaders – from Bush to Blair to Schroeder to Berlusconi – has discredited itself by their ‘friendship’ with Putin, and got nothing in return. As The Spectator revealed this summer, there are serious questions to be asked about Russian secret service’s alleged links to Al-Qa’eda. Hopefully, the Prime Minister may have even asked those questions in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin, on the Take
We recently published a Special Extra post which contained a translation of an item from the Russian web. In it, a Russian website interviewed a high-ranking Russian corruption investigator who revealed shocking details about his investigation of Vladimir Putin for personal corruption while Putin was serving in the government of St. Petersburg.
In an almost casual fashion, as if it were obvious to everyone, the investigator reveals that Putin had both hands in the cookie jar of budget revenues in Piter. And, of course, to any human with a brain it is obvious. How else would Putin be able to afford to sport expensive watches and live in a network of palaces that span the globe? And if Putin were not personally corrupt, how could corruption flourish so openly in Russia, so that Transparency International routinely finds Russia to be the single most corrupt major civilization on this planet?
The fact that Putin’s personal corruption is so well documented, even in Russia itself, just goes to prove that Russians approve of it, just as they approve of Putin’s brutal crackdown on democratic values, including his brazen murder of political opponents like Starovoitova, Politkovskaya, Estemirova and Markelov. Indeed, we recently reported on the fact that a new arrest in the Politkovskaya case clearly shows the involvement of high-level Russian law enforcement in her killing.
The Catastrophic Failure of Russian Aerospace
Russia’s aerospace program appears to be collapsing.
The latest series of horrifying incidents began in June with the crash of a TU-134 airliner while attempting to land near Petrozavodsk, killing all of its nearly four dozen passengers. The government was forced to order the entire model out of service.
Days later, a MiG-29 fighter jet crashed inexplicably, and the government was left with no choice but to order that model out of service too, even though Russia had just inked a larger sale of the model to India.
Then, in an epic humiliation, when Russia rolled out its version of the F-22 Stealth Raptor during its annual international air show an engine collapsed during takeoff and the plane could not get airborn.
Next, a swarm of bees attacked a Moscow-bound Boeing 757, from the inside.
And most recently, an entire Russian ice hockey team was wiped out in a horrific crash near the city of Yaroslavl on the Volga.
Meanwhile, objects even higher up began dropping out of the sky.
The Brutality of “Normal Life” in Vladimir Putin’s Russia
In our issue today we republish two stories about ordinary life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. One story involves an adventure with an elevator, the other with childbirth. They are absolutely required reading for anyone who is interested in understanding what is going on in Russia today.
Anyone who has spent any time living a real life in Putin’s Russia will instantly recognize the truth and the horror reflected in these stories. And nobody who has not lived in Russia can truly appreciate how awful it is to experience so-called “life” of this kind up close and personal. This is what it means to live in a neo-Soviet state ruled by a proud KGB spy. It sucks.
But let’s be perfectly clear: The people of Russia are not the innocent victims of this type of horror. To the contrary, their reckless and irresponsible behavior is the root cause of it.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on his blog Spotlight on Russia, remembers the end of the old Iron Curtain as the new one descends across the continent:
Just the same, no simpler
Are the tests of our times:
Can you come to the square?
Dare you come to the square?
Can you come to the square?
Dare you come to the square?
When that hour strikes?
— Alexander Galich, St. Petersburg Romance (1968)
On August 19, 1991, Muscovites awakened to the sound of tanks. In a fitting conclusion to the decades of Soviet tyranny, the tanks that once rolled on the streets of Budapest, Prague, and Vilnius, came to the heart of Russia. By mid-morning, Moscow was occupied by troops. Television channels were broadcasting Swan Lake, interrupted only by pale-faced news anchors who read out decrees by self-proclaimed “acting president” Gennady Yanayev declaring a state of emergency, suspending most constitutional rights, shutting down newspapers and radio stations, and announcing the formation of a new governing body—the “State Committee on the State of Emergency” (known by its Russian acronym, GKChP), composed of the top Communist leadership, including the vice president, the prime minister, the minister of defense, and the chairman of the KGB. Their objective: to save the rapidly crumbling Soviet dictatorship
If history was any indicator, the coup was bound to succeed.
Russian Technology Unbound
Imagine an eagle soaring proudly around the earth in orbit at supersonic speed. Suddenly, the evil Hubble Space Telescope comes into view. The eagle’s eyes glisten with sparks of bravery, it turns its back on the devilish American craft and a powerful red-white-and-blue laser beam shoots out of the eagle’s buttocks, blinding the telescope and rendering the demonic Americans helpless. Their own national symbol has laid them low!
Who in the world could be capable of putting forth such amazing technology to advance the fight against the evil empire that is the USA? Only Vladimir Putin’s Russia, that’s who!
As of the last tax year, that was the sum in Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s bank account. It had doubled compared to the year just before he became “president” of the country, although his salary in the intervening three years remained constant and was far lower than he received as the top executive at Gazprom, Russia’s largest business entity. Medvedev’s income remained, laughably, far less than that of Russia’s “prime minister” Vladimir Putin. Two years ago Medvedev’s wife had 50% more than that in her own bank account. Now, she has nothing. When asked what happened to the money by a Russian financial newspaper, the Kremlin refused to say. In a recent survey, over 75% of Russian respondents said that Medvedev, like all Russian officials, was lying when he reported his income last year.